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Greece stocks open higher, some banks rebound

By George Georgiopoulos

Greece’s stock market rebounded on Thursday after three days of losses and some bank stocks put in gains after the sector crashed more than 63 percent over the week.

The battered banking index, however, continued to chalk up overall losses, dragged lower by two of its constituent lenders which remained under selling pressure.

The banking index was down 3.6 percent, with shares of Alpha Bank falling 26.8 percent and Piraeus Bank shedding 16.7 percent.

But peers Eurobank and National Bank rebounded as their steep plunge this week attracted buyers, gaining 7.7 percent and 9.5 percent respectively.

The broader market — of which around 20 perecnt constitutes banking stocks – trimmed early gains and was up just 0.2 percent.

“The key determinant for bank values remains the outcome of the coming comprehensive assessment by regulators,” said analyst Nick Koskoletos at Athens-based Eurobank Equities. “Trading is expected to remain highly volatile in the interim.”

Greek banks need to be recapitalised after a flight of euros from deposits for most of this year and mounting bad loans. But that will hurt existing shareholders, when it comes, by diluting the value of their holdings.

Athens and its international lenders share the view that banks must complete their recapitalisation by the end of this year and avoid a haircut on large depositors, Greece’s finance minister said on Wednesday.

The European Union estimates that the recapitalisation may cost between 10 billion euros and 25 billion euros.

The Athens bourse’s large-cap share index rose 0.86 percent, with 20 of its 25 constituent stocks scoring gains. Jewellery retailer Follie was up 4.5 percent, OTE Telecom rose 2.8 percent and Titan Cement gained 1.3 percent.

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